Friday, March 25, 2011

U. of Georgia student's “research focuses on the life and music of pianist prodigy Thomas 'Blind Tom' Bethune”

[Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins ( 1866 photo in London by Antoine Naudin)]

Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
The Blog of the Archives Division
Thursday, March 24, 2011
“Today, we have two features about faculty and graduate students from the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia -- all dynamic women doing relevant and engaged work related to African American culture and history. Another connection is that they've all conducted research in AARL's Archives Division.”

The post mentions JoyEllen Freeman, a student at the University of Georgia who is presently doing research on Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Barbara McCaskill. A link is provided to a news release of the University of Georgia:

University of Georgia
Office of Public Affairs
News Service
March 21, 2011
Writer: Joëlle Walls
Contact: David S. Williams
Athens, Ga. – Original research and creative works by more than 180 University of Georgia undergraduates will be showcased at the 2011 Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium. The annual day-long event, which is open to the public, will be held on April 4 at The Classic Center in downtown Athens.”

“As a participant in the CURO Apprentice program, sophomore JoyEllen Freeman has been involved with the Civil Rights Digital Library under the guidance of her research mentor and English professor Barbara McCaskill, who also serves as co-director of the online archive. For the symposium, Freeman, who is from Alpharetta and pursuing bachelor’s degrees in English and English education, will be presenting a different project she conducted over the summer. Her current research focuses on the life and music of pianist prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Bethune, who was born into slavery in Georgia, in the context of race relations in the 19th century.

[Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (1849-1908) is featured at, which presents a complete Works List compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory. The most recent biography of the enslaved pianist is The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius, written by Deirdre O’Connell and published by Overlook Press (2009). The book's website is]

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